Gini Wijnaldum has talked in glowing terms of Newcastle United as a club and he points out we were already relegated on the very last day of the season, but the St. James’ Park stadium was still packed chock-a-block and it looked glorious on a sunny May day when we took Tottenham apart 5-1.
And we had only 10 men for the last 20 minutes when we scored three unanswered goals, so that was a great way to end a season.
Gini Wijnaldum scores from penalty spot against Spurs
But it was also one of the worst seasons in Newcastle’s Premier League history, if not the worst, and now we are in the 13th day of negotiations to get Rafa Benitez stay on at the second division club, after we were officially relegated way back on May 11th.
The 25-year-old midfielder was Newcastle’s best player in the first half of the season and ended up as the top goalscorer with 11 good goals, but he fell off dramatically in the second half of the season as most players fought against relegation and he didn’t.
But ultimately we were not successful and the club took the drop for the second time in seven years under our unsuccessful owner Mike Ashley.
Gini will probably be the first big player sold this summer, as the club tries to generate funds to give Rafa to bring in some new players to better balance the squad.
The squad was far too lop-sided last season with not enough defensive cover and not enough players who could score goals for us – the facts of the previous two season had identified those were the problems, but nothing was done by the Brains Trust – also known as the Newcastle Board – to fix those rather obvious problems.
Gini was asked if Rafa can take us back up at the first time of asking:
“Yes, of course. Everything is possible.” “You see that Leicester are Champions of the league, and who expected that at the beginning of the season.”
“Everything can happen.” “Of course the club has huge potential – you see the stadium and the fans.” “Even after we were relegated, the stadium was still full.”
“I think this is a club that has to play for the first six, seven or eight places in the Premier League.” “This was way below the standard that the club must have.”
“Yes, of course – Benitez made a big impact on the team and made us perform better.” “I don’t know if it was only the new manager.”
“I really don’t know – it’s difficult to say why we improved so dramatically.” “In my opinion, we learned too late from the things that happened before.”
“That is why in the last couple of games we did better than before.” “It was too late but we had good results.” “He didn’t let us lose six times in a row.”
“It’s been better, and I think that’s a normal reaction from the crowd to sing for Benitez to stay.”
It’s really strange that it should take this long to negotiate a deal even if Rafa wants everything written down because he doesn’t trust Mike Ashley one little bit.
Rafa was the difference and why in those final six games we even looked more like a top six side than a bottom three side.
But the dame had been done by Steve McClaren when he was allowed to stay in charge for far too long when he would have been fired at any other Premier League.
It’s good to have management stability at the club, but not when the manager isn’t good enough and Lee Charnley put his faith in the wrong man and Newcastle are now paying for that massive error of judgement.